OUTLINE OF GENERIC LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR
I. Introductory Paragraph
Start with name, appointment or promotion, and time in rank. Then give a sentence
regarding the major reason(s) for promotion, e.g., research, clinical work, teaching
and/or institutional activities and describe what the person is best known for at
Hopkins, nationally and internationally. There is no need to review the details of
training and experience that appear in the CV. There should be an explanatory
comment only if there is a gap in the information provided in the CV.
II. Discussion of Scholarship
As described in the Gold Book, scholarship, the primary basis for academic
advancement, encompasses the generation of new knowledge and/or the
dissemination of knowledge to others, as long as these activities are accessible to
critical assessment and accessible for future use by members of the academic
community. This section should be used to highlight and promote the scholarly
achievement of the faculty member. It is important to emphasize the faculty
member’s chosen pathway or combination of pathways (Clinician/Educator,
Clinician/ Researcher/Educator, Researcher/Educator and Program
Builder/Educator) in this section as Promotion Committees will give variable
weights to accomplishments and achievements based on this information.
Circumstances surrounding a gap or un-sustained level of scholarship should also
be discussed here.
III-VII should be in sequence most appropriate for candidate's accomplishments.
III. Discussion of Research Accomplishments (where applicable)
This should not be a repeat of what is in the CV, but rather an interpretation of the
significance of the research. There should be a comment regarding the level of
independence of the candidate. Here also should be a comment on the level and
continuity of grant support, where that is applicable.
IV. Discussion of the Accomplishments in Education
Education is an important component of all career pathways. Documentation of
significant accomplishments in teaching should include the preparation and
discussion of an educator portfolio. There should be a factual statement regarding
teaching evaluations wherever possible. The specific record of mentoring and
eventual placement of trainees should be documented by candidates in all
categories. Include a statement regarding the number of teaching sessions with
some quantification of the required commitment to accomplish the teaching.
V. Discussion of Clinical Care Accomplishments (where applicable)
Include an estimate of the time commitment to clinical work, the volume of clinical
work and a brief explanation of the character of that work. If there is an unusual
patient population (e.g., a nationally or internationally referred population) that is
served, that population should be described and enumerated. Any available
information regarding the individual's effectiveness as a clinician should be
VI. Discussion of Accomplishments in Program Building
Program building may be institutional or beyond Johns Hopkins. Innovative
program building may be in the areas of education, clinical services, administration,
or research. Innovation, impact, and potential for further growth or new initiatives
should be described.
VII. Discussion of the Evidence for a National and, (when applicable) International Reputation
Candidates for Associate Professor should be able to document a national recognition in
their field. Candidates for Professor should document national leadership and /or
international recognition. Insight should be provided as to the evidence for this recognition.
Involvement in study sections of national organizations, organizing symposia, invitations to
international conferences and the like are examples that might be delineated. Specific
comments as to demonstration of national and international leadership should be included.
Comment on the significance of awards if not obvious. This is especially important if not
obviously apparent in the CV.
VIII. A final paragraph should be provided that discusses any pertinent issues not reviewed
elsewhere in the letter. This is especially important if the CV does not contain all aspects of
an individual's professional activities and accomplishments.
Finally, the letter should cover the appropriate areas of information listed above. It should
never be a repetition of the CV, and it should not contain unsubstantiated declarations of
accomplishment or praise.